BlackBerry Torch 9800 Smartphone Launched; Features Touchscreen & Slide-out QWERTY Keyboard

RIM and AT&T today introduced the new BlackBerry Torch 9800 Smartphone, aimed at socially connected consumers and is the world’s first smartphone to combine a slide-out BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard with a full touch screen experience.


The new BlackBerry Torch 9800 Smartphone features capacitive touch screen, easy-to-use BlackBerry keyboard, full HTML browser with pinch to zoom or fluidly navigate and the optical trackpad.

The BlackBerry Torch 9800 Smartphone is the first BlackBerry smartphone to launch with latest BlackBerry 6 operating system, a new operating system that retains the familiar and trusted features that distinguish the BlackBerry brand while delivering a fresh, approachable and engaging experience that’s powerful and easy to use.

The Blackberry 6.0 OS features a redesigned user interface that seamlessly works with the touch screen and trackpad, includes expanded messaging capabilities with intuitive features to simplify the management of social networking and RSS feeds (Social Feeds), and provides integrated access to the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and various instant messaging applications available on the BlackBerry Torch smartphone in addition to featuring a dedicated YouTube app and Podcasts app.

The new BlackBerry 6 operating system also integrates a new and rich WebKit-based browser on BlackBerry Torch 9800 Smartphone that renders HTML web pages (as well as HTML email) quickly and beautifully for a great browsing experience.

The WebKit based browser features tabs for accessing multiple sites simultaneously (like Opera Mini 5), pinch to zoom feature for easy navigation and an auto-wrap text zoom feature that can intelligently wrap text in a column while maintaining the placement of a page’s key elements  by simply double-tapping the BlackBerry Torch.

The BlackBerry Torch 9800 Smartphone also features universal search, that is always accessible from the Home Screen, allowing users to search through email, messages, contacts, music, videos and more on the smartphone, as well as extend search to the Internet or to discover applications on BlackBerry App World.

BlackBerry Torch 9800 Smartphone expands on RIM’s popular messaging solutions with the support of AT&T’s advanced messaging features for SMS and MMS.

BlackBerry Torch 9800 Smartphone’s includes a new Text Messages application that is especially exciting for users who communicate most via SMS and MMS, providing support for AT&T’s next-generation messaging experience, which includes group messaging with “reply all” functionality for up to 10 contacts.

For the first time, AT&T’s platform includes a new Locations feature that lets users easily search for points of interest, businesses, and even the user’s own location, and insert this information directly into a message, all without leaving the messaging application.

AT&T also designed the service based on research that revealed customers want features that help facilitate social planning, improved message organization and location sharing.

The new BlackBerry Torch 9800 Smartphone comes with a set of pre-loaded icons which allow them to download and immediately begin using a variety of rich entertainment and social networking applications to access Bloomberg, ESPN, The Weather Channel and Slacker Radio content in addition to Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and more. Also available is AT&T’s Web Video Search, a unique new app that searches video content from over 70 major Internet video websites.

The BlackBerry Torch 9800 Smartphone also comes loaded with Visual Voicemail, which benefits customers by allowing them to select the voicemails they want to hear first.

The new BlackBerry Torch 9800 is also the first BlackBerry smartphone to include BlackBerry App World pre-installed, supporting carrier billing through AT&T, making it easier for customers to discover and purchase applications.

The BlackBerry Torch 9800 smartphone is powered by new BlackBerry Desktop Software 6 with integrated media sync for easily syncing music, photos and videos. It also includes Wi-Fi Music Sync, a unique feature that allows users to view their entire iTunes or Windows Media Player music libraries from their BlackBerry smartphone, create and edit playlists as well as select music for download. When in range of their home Wi-Fi network (or via USB), the changes are synced with iTunes or Windows Media Player and the songs are automatically downloaded to the smartphone.

The BlackBerry Torch 9800 also offers several premium phone features that includes voice activated dialing, speakerphone and Bluetooth (2.1) with support for hands-free headsets, stereo headsets, car kits (including systems that support the Bluetooth Message Access Profile standard) and other Bluetooth accessories

BlackBerry Torch Smartphone Features

  • Tri-band 3G UMTS networks: 2100/1900/850/800 MHz
  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE networks: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
  • 3.2″ 360×480 pixels HVGA capacitive touch screen display
  • 35 key full QWERTY backlit slide-out keyboard, designed to feel optimally balanced when opened for typing
  • Trackpad located on front face of device, ESC key to the right,
    Menu key to the left
  • Touch screen with on-screen keyboard: portrait SureType, QWERTY and multi-tap, landscape QWERTY
  • Slide-out QWERTY keyboard with backlighting
  • Optical trackpad that makes navigation fast and smooth
  • Powerful 624 Mhz processor with 512 MB Flash memory
  • 4 GB built-in memory storage plus a microSD/SDHD memory card slot that supports up to 32 GB cards; a 4 GB card is included giving users 8 GB of storage out-of-the-box
  • 5 MP camera with flash, continuous auto focus, image stabilization, scene modes, geo-tagging and zoom, as well as video recording at up to 640×480 resolution
  • Built-in GPS for location-based applications and geo-tagging
  • Wi-Fi® (802.11 b/g/n); qualifying smartphone customers can enjoy seamless connectivity to over 20,000 AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots at no additional cost
  • Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR
  • Bluetooth Stereo Audio (A2DP/AVCRP)
  • Windows Media DRM 10 for music & video
  • Video format support: MPEG4, H.263, H.264, WMV3
  • Audio format support: MP3, AMR-NB, AAC-LC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, WMV, Flac, Ogg Vorbis
  • 3.5mm stereo headset jack
  • Integrated speaker and microphone
  • Hands-free headset capable
  • Bluetooth headset capable
  • Integrated hands-free speakerphone
  • Rechargeable 1300 mAhr Li-ION battery that provides approximately 5.8 hours of talk time on 3G networks or 30 hours of audio playback or 6 hours of video playback
  • Dimensions: 4.4″ (5.8″ open) x 2.4″ x .57″
  • Weighing: 161 gms (5.68 ounces)

Pricing and Availability

The BlackBerry Torch 9800 smartphone will be available only at AT&T on August 12 for $199.99 (Rs. 9,250 approx) with 2-year service agreement on a qualifying rate plan and smartphone data plan required.

Blackberry has not yet revealed its price and availability in any other markets including India.

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